Saturday, May 10, 2008

Evolution of the Sick Day

When you're little, a weak cough, a touch of a fever, or too much congestion lies you in bed with fluids for at least a day or two. As you get older the standards get more rigid. In order to stay home you must have a fever, a cough alone no longer is enough. But it's okay, because as long as you are a kid you have a grown up who takes care of you. If you are really lucky mom or dad takes off work to make you soup, read you stories, and make sure your fever gets checked every few hours. Even as you age out of that, round the corner where you can stay home alone, there is always the lunch break which delivers soup and magazines. When you are a kid being sick means that you are taken care of, and what you miss out on in school and the real world can always be made up.

As an adult, sick days induce frustration. A touch of a fever is okay, unless it's over 100 what's the point in staying home? A cough, that's nothing. Just place a fist full of cough drops in your bag and the you are ready to take on the world. What happens when you do miss work? Vital meetings pass away, you don't get payed, and for teachers the substitute applies the lesson plan...hopefully the kids learned something. It is not as easy when you become an adult to take a sick day. When you are sick enough to actually take off work you can't catch up on chores or work on your writing because you are probably in a feverish haze. No one brings you soup and no one tucks you in. As an adult the sick day is a painful experience.

I remember having substitutes in school, and it was never the same as having your regular teaching in front of the class. I wonder next year, what will be my barometer for taking a sick day, and how exactly will I get myself better fast enough to jump back into the classroom. Most of all I keep thinking about taking a multi vitamin or airborne, hey, didn't a teacher create that?

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